As a layman, we imagine that a bullet is used only once, and once it is, there’s no further use for the shell. So, it may surprise you to learn, that’s not true at all. Becoming a bullet reloader can be a lucrative business.
Learning what is needed and how to get started is why we are here. With over 40% of households owning a gun, it’s a good time to think about starting a bullet reloading business. There are a few things to know before you get started, so let’s learn more.
In This Post:
- What Is a Bullet Reloader?
- How to Start Reloading
- Essential Equipment for Reloading Ammo
- Starting a Reloading Business: Is It a Smart Move?
- What’s Next
What Is a Bullet Reloader?
If you’re looking to save money on ammunition, reloading could be an excellent way to do that. Bullet handloading or reloading is when you load (or reload) the firearm cartridges or shotgun shells. Reloading is accomplished by assembling the individual elements that include the case, primer, powder, and bullet.
When you can buy factory loaded bullets, you may be wondering why people would want to hand load or reload ammo. There are a few reasons, and the most obvious is the cost savings. Some people take it even further to make custom ammunition for other objectives.
Most gun owners know that the only difficulty in owning a gun is the cost of ammo. Besides, some stores limit the amount of factory loaded bullets you can buy, and it’s surprisingly simple to go through hundreds of rounds on one outing. These two factors lead many gun hobbyists to reload ammo, and the choice is really a no-brainer.
How to Start Reloading
Like any other business, there are necessary supplies and equipment to begin a bullet reloading business. The amount and initial costs vary based on what you need and what would be nice to have. So, draw a line in the sand and begin choosing between the two.
When you begin reloading ammo, it’s good to have an idea of the process. There are a few steps with only slight modifications that depend on the equipment you are using.
Inspect the Casings
Since the used cases are the root of the process of reloading or hand load, you should inspect each one for dings, dents, and wear. If you note any, depending on the depth or severity, you may need to discard some. Dings and dents can cause inaccurate shots, and some damage can cause a bullet to be unstable or explode.
Clean the Casings
Some hobbyists prefer to use a wet wash, while others prefer dry. Place the inspected casings into the cleaning solution of your choice and then put them into a cleaning machine that vibrates or spins them. This process can take a few hours.
Resize the Casings
Once the casings are clean, they will need to be resized to original dimensions. Once bullets are shot, the casing can expand or contract, and that alters their size. For this reason, the casings need to be checked and resized.
Trim the Casings
Now that the casings have been resized, they may need to be trimmed. Each one needs to be measured and sorted by those that need to be trimmed and those that do not. To do this, you can use either a manual trimmer or a powered one.
Deburring the Casings
The next step in the process is to deburr the case mouth and flash hole, this cleans the primer pocket and the chamfering casing neck. Deburring smooths out the neck, and that makes it easier to seat the bullet into the case.
Seating the Primers
It is essential to take care not to contaminate the primers with oils, solutions, or other liquids. For this process, it is possible to use an automatic system or a manual tool. It is critical to ensure that the primer is seated into the primer pocket at the correct depth.
The correct seating will result in the seating depth being flush with the case head. Seating the case either too deep or too shallow can have disastrous results.
Priming the Cases
After the brass has been de-primed and resized, the next step is loading the cartridge. Before anything else, you will prime the cases. If you have cases that have crimped or staked primer pockets, they will require additional work. For example, the stake will need to be removed before a new primer can be inserted.
Loading the Powder
All the processes in reloading ammo are essential, but loading the powder is critical. Too much powder can be a catastrophe.
The best advice is to follow a well-rated manual like Hornady, Nosier or Lyman’s, which are excellent resources for new reloaders. It contains vital information regarding charges for specific bullet types or brands and also specifies based on accuracy.
Once you know the correct amount of powder, you need to measure it very carefully. Even the smallest variation can land you in the hospital’s E.R. Once you reach the best weight for your charges, begin filling the cases checking periodically to be sure your measurements haven’t gone awry.
Seating the Bullet
The last thing to do is to seat the bullet. A seating die will be in your die set and makes it simple to set the bullets at the right depth. The reloading guide provides the exact measurements for the bullet length.
Essential Equipment for Reloading Ammo
Reloading ammo requires a few pieces of equipment. You can opt to buy top of the line or great products that fall within your budget. Whichever you choose, these are the tools you need to start:
A single-stage or progressive press is the primary tool that you will need to reload ammo. Most beginners start with the single-stage press. It is called single-stage because it does one task at a time; in between, you need to change the dies to move on to the next tasks.
A single-stage press is also the choice if you are only making small batches of bullets. When you are ready to move on to making larger batches, you will need a progressive press that does all the tasks from start to finish at a go.
The better option for this is hand tools, even though some presses can also prime cases.
A scale is a must-have tool, even though reloaders can also measure powder with scoops. Accuracy is critical when it comes to measuring powder.
A caliper is used to measure case lengths, overall cartridge lengths, and case mouth diameters. Having this tool is a necessity for any reloader.
Most caliber bullets require their specific die when you are reloading ammo for them. There are a couple of exceptions, like .357 Magnum, .38 Special and .44 Magnum, for example.
This item can be a want or a need depending on the reloading you will do. If it is high-precision, then a powder dispenser is a must-have item.
When you are using a single-stage press, having a system to hold 50 or so cases can be ideal. However, it isn’t a must-have item technically.
Case Cleaning Option
The job of reloading involves using discarded casings that have been burned by powder and fall to the ground; that’s the nature of the work. Reloading materials like the casings need to be kept clear of dirt before entering reloading equipment. This cleaning can be done with a shaken bucket, but the process is slow and complicated.
A good alternative is a tumbling bucket. A dry system is ideal since then you won’t have to worry about drying your cases before reloading.
A case trimmer is another helpful tool that depends on what type of bullets you are reloading. Casings for pistols rarely need trimming, but rifle cases do.
Manual and Book
Most beginners start with one manual, but as you progress, you may find you want specialized manuals leading to a library of options.
Starting a Reloading Business: Is It a Smart Move?
If you’re seriously thinking about launching an ammunition reloading equipment business, it’s a great time. There are many options for gun businesses, from gun parts companies like Aero Precision to Reloading Ammo. It’s all about knowing your customers; that’s the first step in starting any business.
An excellent step to take before starting is a review of competitors in your area. Check local listings in your town on Google or local yellow page sites. If there are a lot of firms, will you successfully be able to compete?
The next step would be to consult with others who are already in the business. They are a great source of advice and even support. Local competitors may not be as helpful as some in another state.
Being a business owner means making decisions, and the first decision one will be a choice of which model of business to start, an ammunition reloading equipment and supply business startup, or acquire an existing business. In most cases, there are compelling financial and practical reasons buying an existing ammunition reloading equipment and supply business over starting a new one. Another option (and often less risky) is investing in a successful franchise.
Becoming a bullet reloader or starting a business can be exciting. The key is learning all you can before moving ahead. We hope this has been an informative read. Check back for more informative insights.